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The White Rose Resistance 75th Anniversary

It is certain that today every honest German is ashamed of his government. Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes—crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure—reach the light of day?

These powerful words were the first of many written in the basement of an artist’s studio in Munich, Germany. It was June, 1942 when two young men serving in the Student Medical Company at the University of Munich, Hans Scholl and Alexander Schmorell, laboriously mimeographed hundreds of anti-Nazi leaflets. They were forming a non-violent, intellectual resistance movement under the name Leaflets of The White Rose.


Voices From the Holocaust

In observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day, I put together this video to honor and remember the millions of victims whose voices were silenced.



-Emily

“They Probably Deserved a Medal"

If you're a long time reader of this blog, you'll probably recognize the name Joe Leo. He's my favorite B-17 waist-gunner and a dear friend. In the summer of 2016 I was given the opportunity to fly in a B-17 from WWII. When I got home I called him up. “Joe, I got to fly in your plane!” The following week we met for coffee and pie to chat about B-17s. We looked over a model B-17 and identified the different positions—pilot, co-pilot, waist gunners, tail gunner, navigator, bombardier, radio man, and engineer. We agreed that neither of us would want to be the ball turret gunner, a brave soul who was scrunched up in a little Plexiglas ball on the belly of the airplane.

While I've shared WWII stories from Joe on the blog before, I wanted to post a quick story about the time he tried lifting a 250-pound bomb out of the bomb bay while flying over Germany. He told me this story before I flew in a B-17 so when I asked him to tell it again after my flight, I gained a whole new respect for what he did!


Joe is standing beside the window where he manned a waist gun.

I'm Going on an Adventure!

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Happy New Year, friends! As you may have noticed from my sporadic blogging, writing fell by the wayside in 2017. As the year filled up with other commitments and I didn't have time to write, I began to really miss the adventure that comes with researching and writing a novel. One of my goals for 2018 is to write the book I've been thinking about for two years—my Warsaw Ghetto Uprising novel! 2018 isn't shaping into a less busy year by any means, but I'm determined to carve out the time necessary to reach my goal and learn to be ok with writing a book at a slower pace. There's going to be lots of research and adventures involved which I'm excited to share with you!

2018 is a really special year to write my novel because this April marks the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. When the Nazis began deporting Jews from the ghetto to Treblinka, the Jews made the choice to fight back. They smuggled in weapons and fought the Nazis for 28 days. In addition to armed resistance, they also wrote journals, letters, poems, drew pictures, and collected stories which they buried on the eve of the Uprising. They were determined that even after their deaths, their voices would not be silenced and the world would know what had happened. 

Tribute to a Paratrooper

Tony Zanzinger (1924-2017)
"I was out the other night and I heard our National Anthem being played and then I saw our flag flying. It was a sight I'll never forget. Looking at the flag I could not see the stars in the field of blue; instead I saw a picture of home and all of your faces. It sure does put a feeling in your heart. That's why I'm here, mom, so that I can help to keep all of you safe back home." - Tony Zanzinger in a letter to his mother

At a WWII event in 2015 I had the honor to meet Tony Zanzinger who served with the 501st PIR, 101st Airborne during WWII. After talking to him and hearing his incredible stories, I went home even more in awe of the Greatest Generation. I can truly credit much of my interest and admiration for the Airborne paratroopers to Tony. Tony's unit paralleled the 506th (Band of Brothers) as they fought in Normandy, Holland, Bastogne, and captured Hitler’s Eagle Nest in Berchtesgaden. I don't know how many people I told, "I met a paratrooper who played chopsticks on Hitler's piano!" He was truly a treasure of history, wisdom, and good ol' American grit. One of my favorite memories from the WWII event was watching Tony beside a 101st Airborne reenactor. I remember him saying, "It's like looking at myself." 

Operation Gratitude Collection Drive

Long time no post! Honestly, how does time go by so quickly? Anyway, here I am with a post about the Operation Gratitude collection drive I helped organize at the Eldred World War II Museum last weekend. Operation Gratitude is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that sends care packages and letters of appreciation to U.S. troops, first responders, veterans, military families, and wounded heroes. Their mission is to thank every American who serves. I'm going to share a bit about the collection drive and encourage you to host one in your community. You don't have to wait for a special holiday like Veterans Day to host an event. You can say thank you anytime of the year! 


Operation Gratitude has wishlist items listed on their website which is a good place to start. They also have certain care kits you can assemble such as The Patrol Care Kit, The Elements Care Kit, and Hygiene Care KitI chose the Elements Care Kit to keep the list of items needed more manageable for people donating, but everyone was very generous and donated enough items for various care kits!


American Veterans Conference

On Saturday I spent the day in the company of America's most decorated and distinguished veterans and active duty personnel from World War II to the present day! The American Veterans Center hosts a three day conference in Washington, DC at the United States Navy Memorial every year with panels and discussions. My mom and I attended the Saturday sessions and the entire day was just jam-packed full of amazing stories. If you have the chance to attend next year, I highly recommend it!

The first session highlighted two WWII veterans, Lt. Colonel Alexander Jefferson and Robert Izumi. These two men had incredible stories!